This past Sunday in Massachusetts was one of the most stellar fall weather days ever. The sky was a brilliant blue, the air crisp, the sun still strong & warm. Left to my own devices, I’m guessing I would have spent the day inside, working. Fortunately, I live with humans who have lives. This Sunday, I left my laptop untouched, packed away in my briefcase, and ventured out into the world to experience apple picking, Massachusetts-style.
I am 44 years old, and this was my first time going apple picking. I remember being a volunteer with kindergarten classes on the apple picking field trip, but my memories of those trips were less with the actual apple-picking experience and more based on assisting the children, observing the fun from afar. Those were the days…minivans, carseats & a backpack filled with juice boxes (water bottles were not quite yet on the scene like they are now), bandaids, goldfish crackers and hand wipes. Never since those trips have I ventured into an orchard, other than to pick up cases of peeled/sliced apples for apple pies.
This Sunday, my husband’s family came from Hingham and after a brief show & tell visit to Bisousweet, we made our way over to Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA. My expectations were, well, what our kindergarten trips were like. A quiet, empty orchard with an eager staff member waiting for our arrival, excited to share the story of Johnny Appleseed. The realization that this was going to be a bit different hit me when I noticed the police officer directing traffic a mile away from the entrance to the orchard. ‘Wonder what’s going on?’
And then, I understood. Apple picking is what was going on. Not just for us, but for us and about a thousand other people. Welcome to Appleland!
Here are my observations about my afternoon.
1. Honey Pot Hill Orchards is one amazing place, not to be missed. Every single person we encountered who worked for the orchard was beyond friendly and helpful. The apples are delicious & even though there were hundreds of people picking apples, the orchard felt calm, peaceful and spacious.
2. If there is a tree, my husband will climb it. Some people opt to pick apples off the ground (not me), and some choose to pick the apples within their reach (me). And then, there are those that feel compelled to climb (Eddie). Sigh.
3. Puppies make everything better, apple picking included.
4. People watching while apple picking was unexpectedly satisfying – Of course, this took me by surprise, since I was expecting an empty orchard. Once I got over the shock of the number of people, I settled into casually looking at who was there. There were moms, grandmothers, fathers, teenagers flirting with each other, children clutching legos and stuffed animals while getting piggy back or stroller rides. There was more leopard print clothing than I ever would have imagined. Coiffed women in high heel knee-high boots. Not necessarily what I would choose to wear, but it certainly made for an entertaining afternoon.
5. Picking apples makes me want to bake. I can’t help it…I’ve been eating the freshly picked apples ever since Sunday, but what I really want to eat is apple pie. Apple dumplings. Apple crisp. Applesauce. Baked apple french toast with maple syrup. Apple bread. Apple cider doughnuts. Or, my newest idea for Ben & Jerry’s…maple ice cream with a bourbon caramel swirl and a tunnel of…you know it…apple pie.
Do you have a favorite orchard? If so, please share in the comment section.
On a totally separate note, I would like to close this post with a heartfelt apology for not writing anything for the past couple of months. Thanks for still sticking around.